Delhi High Court: A Division Bench of Rajiv Sahai Endlaw and Asha Menon, JJ., disposed of the petition wherein cooks working in Air Force Kitchens are being made to work for 14 days then 14 days quarantine, then for 7 days they can go to their respective residences — their grievance is that they are being forced to stay away from their homes for 28 days.
Grievance of All India Association of Air Force Civil Cooks
Petitioner-association is being made to live at the Station of their posting and a roster of 14+ 14+ 7 is being followed wherein for the first 14 days they are kept in quarantine, for the next 14 days they are made to work as cooks and thereafter they are given 7 days at home.
The contention placed before the Court is that they are being forced to stay away from their homes for 28 days in a month and out of which for 14 days their services are not utilised, by keeping them quarantined.
In view of the above stated contention, petitioner stated that it is not in terms of their employment that they will be made to stay away from their respective families.
Grievance is also made that they are not being treated as ‘Corona Warriors’ and being thus not conferred benefits to which ‘Corona Warriors’ are entitled.
Petition has been filed without regard to the prevalent circumstances and the large scale loss of employment and resultant hardships being faced by those without assurance of employment.
Members of the petitioner though having surety of employment are making grievances of inconveniences allegedly being suffered by them, forgetting that the members of the petitioner , as cooks is permitted to return to their respective residences after duty hours every day, are likely to bring them COVID-19 infection, when reporting back for duty.
They cannot thus seek enforcement of employment terms as in normal times, when the entire country is going through abnormal times.
Further the Court added that, while working in the kitchen at the Air Force Stations, the members of the petitioner cannot be said to be exposed in any manner to the Corona virus, to claim themselves to be “frontline workers” as the counsel for the petitioner argues.
Court also enquired from the respondents counsel appearing — why the members of the petitioners cannot be made to reside at the respective Air Force Stations for a longer period than of 14+14 days, say for three or six months at a time, as per the requirement, so that the time spent in quarantine by the members of the petitioner at the Air Force Stations is brought down.
With regard to petitioners grievance in respect to meals being charged. Court has asked the respondents counsel, whether a better arrangement therefor can be worked out or charges for meals be dispensed.
Thus, Court on finding no merit in the present matter and disposed it of while requesting the respondents to either centrally or regionally or at each Station, hold consultations with the representatives of the members of the petitioner and to explore if any other arrangement, satisfactory to the members of the petitioner, can be worked out. [All India Air Force Civilian Cooks Assn. v. UOI, 2020 SCC OnLine Del 663 , decided on 22-06-2020]